How to reset Windows Update on Windows 10 to fix downloads and installs issues

Windows Update is an essential component within every major release of Windows. It allows the operating system download and install the latest updates with bug fixes, security patches, and drivers. With Windows 10, it’s also the mechanism to obtain new features and new Insider preview builds for testers.

However, there will be those times when your PC won’t be able to download or install new updates, because of a specific error messages, Windows Update not being able to connect to the Microsoft servers, and a number of other issues.

Usually, users come across these type of problems when the Windows Update agent related services stop running, there is a problem with the update cache, or require components are corrupted. In these situations, you can reset the Windows Update on Windows 10 to fix most problems.

This guide will walk you through the steps to reset the Windows Update components using the “Windows Update Troubleshooter” utility and the instructions to use Command Prompt to manually fix Windows Update and get security patches, drivers, and features downloading again on your PC or tablet.

How to reset Windows Update using Troubleshooter tool

Microsoft provides the “Windows Update Troubleshooter” utility that can help automate the process to reset the Windows Update components.

  1. Click to download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter from Microsoft.

  2. Select Windows Update and click Next.

  3. If prompted, click the Try troubleshooting as an administrator option. Re-select your option and click Next again.

  4. Let the troubleshooter fix the problem and click Close.

  5. Reopen the utility, but this time select Windows Networking Diagnostics, which should resolve any networking issues that prevents updates from downloading on your PC.

  6. Let the troubleshooter fix the Windows Update problem and click Close.

  7. Restart your computer to complete the process.

Once your PC restarts try to update Windows 10 one more time and now it should work as expected.

How to reset Windows Update using Command Prompt

If the troubleshooter didn’t fix the problem, you can try to reset the Windows Update components on Windows 10 manually using the Command Prompt.

  1. Use the Windows key + X to open the Power User menu and select Command Prompt (Admin).

  2. Stop the BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service), Windows Update service, and Cryptographic service. Type the following commands and make sure to press Enter on each line:

    net stop bits
    net stop wuauserv
    net stop appidsvc
    net stop cryptsvc

  3. Delete all the qmgr*.dat files created by BITS from your PC. Type the following command and press Enter:

    Del "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Network\Downloader\qmgr*.dat"
  4. Clear the Windows Update cache to allow Windows 10 re-download the updates, instead of using the files already downloaded on your system that might be damaged. Type the following commands and make sure to press Enter on each line:

    rmdir %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution /S /Q
    rmdir %systemroot%\system32\catroot2 /S /Q
    Quick Tip: We’re using the remove directory rmdir command with the /S switch to delete the specified directory and all subdirectories within the main folder, and the /Q switch is used to delete directories quietly without confirmation. If you get the message “The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process.”, then repeat step 1 and try again, as one of the services might have restarted unexpectedly.
  5. Reset the BITS and Windows Update services to their default security descriptor. Type the following commands and make sure to press Enter on each line:

  6. Move to the System32 folder using the following command and press Enter:

    cd /d %windir%\system32
  7. In order to get the Windows Update agent working properly again, you need to register all the corresponding BITS and Windows Update DLL files on the Registry. Make sure to type the following commands correctly and make sure to press Enter on each line:

    regsvr32.exe /s atl.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s urlmon.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s mshtml.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s shdocvw.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s browseui.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s jscript.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s vbscript.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s scrrun.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s msxml.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s msxml3.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s msxml6.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s actxprxy.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s softpub.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wintrust.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s dssenh.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s rsaenh.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s gpkcsp.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s sccbase.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s slbcsp.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s cryptdlg.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s oleaut32.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s ole32.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s shell32.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s initpki.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wuapi.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wuaueng.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wuaueng1.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wucltui.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wups.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wups2.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wuweb.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s qmgr.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s qmgrprxy.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wucltux.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s muweb.dll
    regsvr32.exe /s wuwebv.dll
    Note: regsvr32 is a command-line tool that will help you to register .DLL files as command components in the registry, and we’re using the /S switch to specify the tool to run the command silently without prompting additional messages.
  8. Reset the network configurations that might be part of the problem (but do not restart your computer just yet). Type the following commands and make sure to press Enter on each line:

    netsh winsock reset
    netsh winsock reset proxy

  9. Restart the BITS, Windows Update, and Cryptographic services using the following commands and make sure to press Enter on each line:

    net start bits
    net start wuauserv
    net start appidsvc
    net start cryptsvc
  10. Restart your Windows 10 PC and try to download new updates.

Once you have successfully completed the process Windows Update should have reset and it should be working again on your Windows 10 PC.

You can also use the above instructions to fix the problem when Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, or any other Surface can’t seem to download a new firmware update.